Our Story So Far

A birthday is always a good time to reflect.  Branch Out turns four in 2018 and why not look at why we started and what we have achieved.  Here is a short story about our beginnings…

THE CHAT

In 2013 I was sitting in the mountains of Andorra casting a wistful look across the abyss to the snow-capped peaks above the valley.  Earlier that day, a chat with my mum had a profound effect on me. You could argue that everything was perfect, I was married with two young kids, a beautiful home and my career was going from strength to strength as co-founder in a national recruitment firm, yet something wasn't quite as it should be, and my mum, (knowing me better than anyone else on the planet) could clearly see this.

Having children of our own, I had gained a different perspective on life.  Our son in particular needed extra support to be able to get ahead in the world, and I vividly recall a day reviewing the number of meetings that I had recently been to and a shiver went down my spine - this was time I was never going to get back, let alone give to my children.  

Jim Carrey’s father once said to him, “Jim, do something that you love, for you can just as easily fail doing something you don’t.” and in this mindset, I searched for a new direction by reflecting on what makes me tick.  Being active outdoors makes me feel alive and if I could marry this passion with my love of working with people, then it could benefit myself and others.  In May 2014, taking the name that my wife coined, I launched our website and Branch Out sprang into life.

FOUR YEARS ON THE TRAIL

Our four year journey has been rich.  I have reconnected with skills that I had forgotten, remembered a little more about the country that made me, invested in old and new friendships and spent a lot more time with my family.  Our short road to this point in May 2018, has been rocky, challenging and sometimes arduous, but wholly worth it. Without a doubt, my life has changed, my kids lives have changed and through our work, we are able to show a whole new world to others.  We have given back, supported others to achieve their goals and perhaps shown others a path that they may have missed without our existence.  I believe that Branch Out has let an extra ray of sunshine into the world and that makes me very proud.

As of 2018, we have gained an incredible team including Hannah Veen (Hashtag) who has pushed us forward toward the great mission.  Long standing guide, Robbie Smith (aka Broadsword) who has established a benchmark for how we hire, marketing guru James Ruta (Vinnie) and legendary guides including Espen, Aerial, Georgia, Paige, Sheldon Jess, Maria, Nis and Contiki.  At the start of 2018, we were lucky to gain Chris Brown (the Doctor), who joined us to head up our adventure travel growth across Australia.  Chris brings almost 20 years of leadership experience working in corporates around Australia and as a native to the Bellarine Peninsula, Chris shares a passion for outdoor sports, the wonderful benefits of nature and the incredible beauty of Australia.  

We have delivered over twenty Explorer Club school holiday programs, been on numerous expeditions and reconnected with a number of my previous corporate clients through our marvellous Discovery program.  Particularly exciting is our travel venture, an industry first which enables international and local customers to visit the hidden wonders of the Australia. 

Everything we do has purpose, and this is tightly captured in our mantra "Live your life to the fullest". But, don't think that this is just about our customers, these words are for us also. If you look after your own wellbeing, you have a greater chance of looking after everyone else.  Or to use an analogy, "put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others".

The scars and bruises that we gained along our journey are a legacy of learning & achievement and long may they continue.  As Ken Robinson says, "curiosity is the engine of achievement." We hope that Branch Out can make a difference to your life.

Mark McOnie